The former physician was convicted on Friday of ordering a banned drug for some of Britain’s most successful cyclists and teams that he knew would be used to enhance the rider’s performance.
The ruling, the end of one of the most high-profile doping cases in cycling since Lance Armstrong’s drug scandal, nearly destroyed the credibility of the sport nearly a decade ago, raising new doubts about successes, and some of the world’s Top cyclists’ methods over the past decade.
Doctor Richard Freeman worked for the Tour de France winning team Sky and the British Cycling Federation, which oversees the country’s Olympic program. He was convicted in 2011 of the UK Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service of Testosterone, a steroid, for an unnamed rider. The tribunal said that Freeman did that “knowing or believing” drugs would be used to help Rider or his team win.
The tribunal also said that from 2010 to 2016, Team Sky’s head doctor, Freeman, gave rise to a series of lies to cover the purchase of the drug and its intended use.
The case was drawn up for two years and it is raising serious questions about Team Sky, which is now called Inios grenadiers, Which is one of the most prominent teams in cycling history and includes champion riders like Chris Frome and Bradley Wiggins.
Now surrounded by accusations of doping, the team was compared to Armstrong’s United States Postal Service team, not because of the streak of its successes and the depth of top riders on its rosters – but because of the constant skepticism about the methods Fuel can be given.
“It turns out that the delivery of testosterone gel in 2011 was to illegally enhance a rider’s performance,” said Brian Feser, British Cycling’s chief executive. Said in a statement. Feser said the organization would leave any “further action” related to the case in the hands of anti-British officials, “whose work would get our full support.”
Freeman was a fixture around the British cycling teams for a year as the country and its riders reached the pinnacle of the sport. He worked for British Cycling from 2010 to 2017, and was part of a concerted effort by the organization to invest in the sport before hosting the 2012 Olympics in London in the UK.
That investment paid off: British riders Led the medal count in cycling in LondonWith 12 medals including eight golds – twice the total number won by Germany, the team ranked second in the cycling medal table. Britain repeated their success at the 2016 Rio Games, winning a dozen medals, including six golds.
In 2012, a year after Freeman was accused of receiving a shipment of testosterone, Team Sky won its first Tour de France, with Wiggins triumphantly riding Champs-Alessis in Paris as his teammates surrounded him. Celebrated The scene would become almost an annual event: from then until 2019, the British team won the Tour seven times in eight years. Fromm topped the podium four times.
Credit for the success of British teams and British riders in major international competitions With the cycling boom starting in England. But as is often the case in sports, the team’s dominance also raised doubts as to how its riders became so good and so fast. In Team Sky’s case, speculation about the squad’s possible drug use came back with some evidence.
In this latest case, Freeman, who admits to receiving testosterone and lying to British antidoping officials about it, initially stated that he had not ordered the drug and that the company had made a mistake sending it to the team. He then ordered it to be accepted, but claimed he was instigated by British Cycling and Team Sky coach Shane Sutton to do so. Freeman said Sutton had sought medication to treat his erectile dysfunction.
The tribunal has called Freeman’s claim “an elaborate lie”, although doctors claim its veracity.
Sutton has strictly refuted Freeman’s claim. In a statement to The Daily Mail on Friday, he said that he was disappointed that Freeman used him as a scapegoat.
“I wish to stress that neither I nor Sir Dave Brilsford knew of the testosterone order,” Sutton recalled, referring to Team Sky’s long-time manager and former performance director in British cycling. “But I think it’s important to find out what the doctor ordered. The UK is expected to come out of the investigation by anti-doping. “
UK anti-doping, which oversees anti-doping efforts in the UK, announced on Friday that it had accused Freeman of possessing a banned substance and tampering or tampering with doping controls. The agency said in a statement, Freeman has been suspended pending an investigation.
That investigation is expected to delay Team Sky’s possible use of testosterone, which the tribunal called a “drug of choice” on Friday. The drug has been used in cycling for decades, in forms such as injections, pills, creams, and gels, to enhance recovery, and has long been banned as a performance-enhancing substance.
Testosterone is so effective in helping riders return from grueling efforts, however, that some use it despite the risk of positive testing. Floyd Landis used it to help win the 2006 Tour de France, but he later tested positive for it and the win was snatched away.
Testosterone Drugs is the only one of the team Sky riders have been accused of using to enhance their performance. In 2016, Russian hackers broke into a world anti-doping agency system, which tracks approval for the use of banned drugs by athletes, called therapeutic drug waivers; Hack revealed that both Wiggins and Froome used drugs, including corticosteroids, during the race for Team Sky.
A later British Parliamentary Committee report suggested that Wiggins had used potent corticosteroids for medical reasons in his 2012 tour victory (he claimed it was for asthma), but due to his power-to-weight ratio To improve. A lightweight yet strong rider will have an easier time racing the steep mountains than a heavy one. Wiggins Denied that he used the drug to aid his performance, And he explained those and other doping allegations for years.
In 2016, UK anti-doping began an investigation into a package distributed to Team Sky, bound for Vignan in the weeks before Wiggins’ win, which he won at the Tour de France of the Summer. But the agency could not verify the contents of that package, partly because Freeman claimed that his laptop with the team’s medical records was stolen while on leave.
The UK anti-doping refused to discuss Friday’s search against Freeman, in addition to accepting the decision.
“We do not intend to make any further comments at this time,” the agency said in a statement.